Raps decide to keep Martin

STEVE BUFFERY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:48 AM ET

The Raptors have decided to keep veteran guard Darrick Martin for the remainder of the season.

After today, all NBA contracts become guaranteed for the remainder of the season and there was talk that the Raptors would take a pass on Martin, who was acquired in November as a free agent.

Although Martin has played well in limited minutes, averaging 2.2 points and 1.6 assists in 18 games, it's his contribution off the court that has impressed head coach Sam Mitchell and GM Rob Babcock.

"The main reason we brought him in was to help the younger guys with his experience and leadership and he's done an excellent job for us," Babcock said yesterday.

Martin, who speaks Spanish, has been especially helpful in helping rookie point guard Jose Calderon of Spain adjust to the NBA.

"When he's played, he's performed well," Babcock said. "That's been a plus, but that's not the main reason we brought him in. The main thing was the cerebral thing he brings to the team."

Martin cleared waivers on the weekend.

KUDOS FOR JAMES

Raptors guard Mike James was named NBA Eastern Conference Player of the Week for games played Jan. 2 through Jan. 8. This is the first time James has won the honour and he becomes the fourth player in Raptors history to capture the award.

James led the Raptors to a 3-1 record, posting averages of 25.3 points, 4.5 rebounds and 7.0 assists, while connecting on 35 of his 64 field goal attempts (55%) and 13-of-21 three-point attempts (62%).

AROUND THE RIM

Aaron Williams, who was placed on the inactive list on Jan.6 due to a stomach virus, was activated last night and fellow centre Loren Wood was put on the inactive list ... Over 100 people from the local Alopecia Areata society were on hand yesterday to meet Toronto rookie Charlie Villanueva, who has had the disease since he was young.


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